Cocoa Dolce's owner got her start at Wichita State
When Beth Tully graduated from Wichita State University in 1976, she thought her path was set. She had a bachelor’s in logopedics and was embarking on what would become a 15-year career in speech pathology.
Then, at 50, Tully decided to return to her roots and make a career out of what had always been a hobby: making chocolate.
Tully is now the owner of Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates. The boutique chocolate shop she opened in 2005 is one of Wichita’s most popular destinations for handmade treats.
Although Tully’s schooling and degree were in a different field, she credits her time at Wichita State for much of her success today.
“WSU gave me a quality education and the confidence to believe in myself,” Tully said. “I have always been a proud Shocker. We live in a community with a world-class university — lucky us.”
Stumbling upon a career
Tully, whose husband, Jay Tully, is a captain in the Wichita Fire Department, has two stepsons – Jacob and James. The couple has a granddaughter named Adelaide, as well as four dogs: Tig, Dozer, K’ua and Skip.
Family played a large role in Tully’s eventual career. Her grandmother taught her home skills such as cooking and sewing.
“She was truly my first mentor,” Tully said. “She left me with a deep appreciation for creating things.”
In 1978, Tully stumbled onto a series of recipes in the magazine Bon Appetit. She was immediately hooked and continued to create chocolate confections every year from then on, making more than 30 different kinds and mailing them to family and friends across the country.
Tully refers to that time as her novice career. It wasn’t until her 50th birthday that she decided to go pro.
She went to culinary school at Ecole Chocolat’s Professional Chocolatier Program in Vancouver and earned her Master Chocolatier Certification.
In addition to culinary training, Tully relied heavily on Wichita State’s Kansas Small Business Development Center. The advice she received on cash flow analysis, business plan preparation and marketing made a huge difference, she said.
In honor of Wichita State, Tully started a line of chocolates in 2010 called Shockolates.
Tully said she will always be loyal to WSU, which helped her succeed at a job she’s happy to do every day.
“The opening of Cocoa Dolce was truly the culmination of a life-long love,” she said.